Strengthening Gulf Security Cooperation

  • 6 January 2014

The turbulence and instability being witnessed in the Arab world and the Middle East have underscored the need to boost security cooperation among member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This is particularly important considering two significant developments that have taken place in recent times. The most worrying development has been the infiltration of Al-Qaeda into Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Arab Maghreb, where the organization has taken advantage of political crises and turmoil. On the other hand, attempts have been made by some powers to undermine internal security and stability of the GCC, by interfering in the region’s internal affairs and trying to destroy its social fabric.

GCC security meetings have acquired major significance as a result of these developments. The GCC deputy interior ministers’ meeting was held in Manama yesterday at a time when Bahrain is battling attempts by some groups to undermine its internal security using violence and terror despite the government’s efforts to start national dialog. This meeting followed the 34th GCC Summit in Kuwait in December, which took several vital decisions on collective Gulf security such as establishing of a GCC joint unified military command, setting up of a GCC police force (Gulf Interpol) and a Gulf academy for strategic and security studies. These decisions show that GCC leaders are aware of the need for coordination across the Gulf as setting up of a joint security framework is essential to meeting the region’s security challenges.

Since its establishment, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) has been aware of the major challenges to Gulf security in general and GCC security cooperation in particular. The Center has taken keen interest in holding conferences and symposia on these topics and has published several books and studies in this field. Strengthening of the GCC security cooperation has been ECSSR’s main recommendation. The Center’s most recent contribution on this issue has been a symposium – Security in the Arabian Gulf – held in cooperation with Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, United Kingdom, at the ECSSR premises in Abu Dhabi on 9-10, December 2013.

His Excellency Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), delivered welcome speech at the Symposium in which he called for expediting and strengthening of the foundations of collective security in the GCC. H.E. Dr. Jamal Al-Suwaidi also called for setting up of an extensive security network that would take into consideration the need to provide a security-oriented outlook and mechanisms for early detection of security threats in the region.